SpaceX makes historic rocket landing

Story highlights

  • SpaceX makes history after it lands rocket successfully on ship
  • Elon Musk hopes that by reusing parts of the rocket, launches can be more frequent

Kennedy Space Center, Florida. (CNN)If at first you don't succeed, try until you make history.

For the first time, SpaceX has successfully landed part of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship. That occurred in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday afternoon.
SpaceX launched the rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:43 p.m., sending the Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station.
Elon Musk, head of the private space exploration company, held a press conference with NASA after liftoff to speak about the launch and the landing of the rocket at sea -- a feat that was attempted numerous times by SpaceX in the past.
"What was different about this [landing] is that the rocket landed instead of putting a hole in the ship or tipping over," Musk joked.
As humans venture farther into space, there will be benefits to landing a rocket in the water versus landing one on Earth.
"For half our missions, we will need to land out to sea. Anything beyond Earth is likely to need to land on the ship," Musk said, referring to the potential of future space habitats extending beyond Earth's orbit. Right now, ISS lies in lower Earth orbit.
SpaceX and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin have been trying to master rocket landings for some time. SpaceX's landing could lead to possibilities of the company reusing rockets for future launches, potentially saving the company money and even time.
"Reusability is important. It will take us a few years to make that efficient," Musk said. In the future, the billionaire businessman hopes that launches will be as frequent as every few weeks.
"We will be successful when this become boring," Musk said.
There was excitement all around with the SpaceX crew in Mission Control, Musk said. President Barack Obama shared a tweet congratulating Musk and NASA for their hard work and innovation.
So what can top an historic rocket landing out at sea? There's a few upcoming projects that Musk is excited to see, such as recovering the Falcon 9's payload fairing, a structure that protects satellites when they are launched into orbit.
Friday's ocean landing is one of many big moments to come, Musk explained.
"This a really good milestone for spaceflight another step towards the stars," he said.
As for the Dragon spacecraft, it is healthy and on its way to delivering 7,000 pounds worth of experiments and supplies to the International Space Center. It is set to arrive on Sunday, according to NASA.